One theory suggests that the Engineers showcased during Alien: Covenant might not have been Engineers at all. The Alien prequel, Prometheus, introduced the Engineers into the franchise, a race of technologically advanced beings who are implied to have created the human race from their own DNA. While Prometheus’ Engineer was shown to be a formidable foe for the ship’s crew, Alien: Covenant showed the android David get his revenge by wiping out an entire community of Engineers, using the weaponized black goo that was stored in spades inside the Engineer pilot’s ship, but all might not be completely as it seems.
Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel series was set to answer burning questions about the origins of the legendary Xenomorphs, first introduced aboard the Nostromo during 1979’s Alien. Despite receiving mixed responses, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant did expand on the backstory of both the Xenomorphs, and the franchise’s trademark fear surrounding android characters, since Michael Fassbender’s David is a menacing figure in both projects. The introduction of the Engineers suggested a new creation myth for humanity, as well as the perfect connection between the human characters and the alien threat.
Alien: Covenant’s Engineers Are Very Different To Prometheus’
The theory, posed by reece1495 on Reddit, suggests that Alien: Covenant’s Engineer characters weren’t Engineers at all, but in fact another of the supreme race’s experiments that David comes across on his travels after the events of Prometheus. It’s never actually stated what species Alien: Covenant’s Engineers, a.k.a. “Space Jockeys,” actually are, as David kills them all with the black goo in a very brief scene, but many elements point to these Engineers being different from the species introduced in 2012’s Prometheus. The theory poses that these beings could be an Engineer experiment that turned out right, where humanity failed.
Despite looking very similar to the Engineers, there are many differences between the powerful race seen in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant’s aliens. Prometheus demonstrated some of the huge technological advancements that the Engineers had made, including their streamlined vessels, high-tech armor, and mysterious maps of the universe which David becomes engrossed in, not to mention their ability to weaponize the Alien franchise’s black goo. The aliens in Covenant, however, were dressed in cloth garments and living in basic temples, not resembling the Engineers’ high-tech equipment.
Humanity Was An Engineer Experiment, So They Must Have Done More
Prometheus confirmed that the Engineers were the creators of humanity, as in the film’s opening moments, an Engineer drinks some of the black substance, which causes his body to break down and his DNA to be disseminated into the Earth’s ecosystem. However, Prometheus doesn’t go into too much detail about the Engineers’ actual plans and the scale of their command over the cosmos. Even so, since they created humanity, it’s safe to assume that the species also created other races across the universe, populating perhaps several planets with their own DNA.
The theory suggests that the Engineers were successful in their creation of the aliens featured in Alien: Covenant, evidenced by their worship of the Engineer ship returning to their temple’s dock, as it makes sense that they would worship their almighty creators. This is supported by the Engineers’ desire to wipe out humanity during the events of Prometheus, since the species would see humanity as a failed version of their experiment. While humans share similar characteristics to the Engineers, they don’t quite look the same as their creators, and they seek domination of the stars for themselves, leading to the Engineers’ hatred of their own creation.
The Alien Franchise Needs A Third (& Final) Prequel
Ridley Scott originally planned his Alien prequel series to be a trilogy of films leading up to the events of the original Alien film, however, after the release of two projects, the future of the third is still unclear. Evil Dead’s Fede Álvarez has been confirmed to be developing a standalone film in the Alien franchise, tentatively titled Alien Romulus, and a sequel to the original Alien series has been in and out of development for a number of years, but production on a sequel to Alien: Covenant, which would be a direct prequel to Alien, has seen an incredibly tumultuous journey.
After Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019, Scott confirmed that a follow-up to Alien: Covenant was in the works, though later revealed that he wasn’t certain whether it would follow the same story that started in Prometheus. For the prequels to properly tie into the original Alien series, Covenant needs a direct sequel to put to bed any questions surrounding David’s experiments on the Xenomorphs, the ship first seen on LV-426 in Alien, and the status of Ellen Ripley and the Nostromo crew. This story needs to be completed, and the only way this will happen is if Ridley Scott produces an honest-to-goodness sequel to Alien: Covenant.